UPDATE 5 January 2011:
On 4 January 2010, Mara Thompson formally entered the ‘race’ by paying her deposit at the Treasury. I do not think that anyone in Barbados expects her to lose.
I have closed the poll, which indicates that approximately 40% of those who participated thought that she should enter the ‘race’, and 60% thought that she should not.
Perhaps I have reached a hope stage of grief, but if there is one issue in Barbados upon which Barbadians agree, it is that Mara should run. The issue which divides us is whether she should run to, or from the responsibilities associated with replacing her late husband as the parliamentary representative for St John. One thing is certain, having both father and husband as politicians, Mara is well prepared to count the cost of this pursuit.
Politicians eat their young
She must be aware that there are no long-term allegiances or logic to the behaviour of politicians. They can be in favour and out of favour with each other with rapidity. Politicians in opposition deemed a former Prime Minister as highly incompetent and responsible for mismanaging the economy. However, when they regained power, they facilitated him being knighted as a role model for us to emulate.
Politicians in cabinet deemed a former opposition leader as utterly useless in economic matters. However, when he crossed the floor, they embraced him as a useful economic advisor. Politicians appear to delight in damaging the reputations of persons with whom they disagree. Therefore, Mara should run as fast and as far as she can from this type of political behaviour.
Barbados deserves better
At this stage of our development, Barbadians deserve significantly better representation in Parliament. We deserve to hear our representatives honestly discussing the policy issues which affect us, rather than hearing them recite proposals that they appear not to understand, and cleverly attacking each other, and damaging the reputation of individuals and businesses with whom they perceive to be associated with their political opponents.
Mara is a stateswoman
Mara has consistently carried herself as a stateswoman for decades. It is her choice whether to maintain that status, or to descend from it. If she chooses to remain above the political mire, then her status as a stateswoman is maintained. She can maintain her status by entering elective politics, and enunciating and defending her opinions without negatively speaking about those with whom she may disagree.
To my knowledge, Mara has no Caribbean role models to guide her. Her political advisors only know the ‘cut and thrust’ of politics, the damaging use of political invective and innuendo, and the singular focus of getting re-elected at all costs.
At this point in our nation’s history, Mara is uniquely qualified to lead us out of this messy political environment into a responsible and enlightened type of governance. Our parliament will not be accustomed to having a states-person in their midst, and will have to adjust. Regardless of whether she is ignored, attacked, or emulated, I believe that Barbados can only benefit from her representation. What do you think? Please participate in the following poll.
Related article: Statesmen are preferred over politicians